Gaahls Wyrd - GastiR - Ghosts Invited   [Season Of Mist - 2019]

Former Gorgoroth and God Seed frontman Gaahl’s current outfit Wyrd are being hailed as producing some of the best music the black metal scene has to offer today. Formed in 2015 the band are made up of the great and good from the Scandinavian metal scene, bassist Eld (Frode Kilvik) has played as part of Taake’s live band, guitarist Lust Kilman (Ole Walaunet) has a rather fine pedigree having played with Grimfist, God Seed, Sahg and Audrey Horne to name but a few, whilst drummer Spektre (Kevin Kvåle) has played with Harm, Svartelder and Horizon Ablaze among others.

GastiR – Ghosts Invited is the band’s first full length studio album having previously only released a live EP in 2017 and a couple of singles that pre-empted this release. This highly anticipated 8 track album was recorded by producer Iver Sandøy (Enslaved) at Solslottet Studios, Norway during the
summer of 2018.

The first thing that one notices is the strong production values, opening track "Ek Erilar" has a meaty guitar sound that works really well and seems at odds with a lot of traditional Black Metal releases. Whilst the track lacks brutality it more than makes up for it with good musicianship and solid songcraft. Gaahl is on fine form, specifically on the second track, the rip roaring "From the Spear". This is top notch melodic Black Metal, hard, heavy, brutal and still packed with loads of musical diversity.
The single "Ghost Invited" is up next, with Gaahl crooning atop the blast beats like a Black Metal Jim Morrison. I’m not sure how well this works yet, but once the vocals settle in by the second verse it has started to grow on me. "Carving the Voices" represents a change of pace, and our man Gaahl is doing his best Andrew Eldritch impression, slow and symphonic, it represents a real shift in style, but it’s certainly not unwelcomed. What I really like about this album is they’re not afraid to take chances and draw on outside influences.

"Veiztu Hve" gets the second half of the album underway and immediately picks the pace back up. Gaahl’s clean sung vocals give this rather typical Black Metal style track something a little different, something I wish more Black Metal bands would try as it brings an element of variety to the genre. "The Speech and the Self" chugs along well enough, occasionally punctured by a melodic clean sung chorus that is both catchy and singalong, who would have expected that from a Black Metal release?
"Through and Past and Past" is up next and an almost Slayer-esque riff gets things underway before the blast beats and Gaahl’s rougher vocals take control. A short sharp shock that reminds me of classic Slayer in many ways. Within the Voice of Existence brings the album to a close, a slow beginning with some tribal sounding drums and picked guitar work. Really atmospheric and creepy the track feels more akin to what we hear in the dark ambient community than anything else, eventually the track takes a step into heavier more progressive territory for the final few minutes with Gaahl chanting along in the mix.

GastiR – Ghosts Invited is a fine album, regardless of genre. Strong songs, great musicianship and just enough diversity and creativity from Gaahl and the band set this apart from the usual flood of Black Metal releases. I like my music to not stick to stereotypes, I like it to break them and I think this album does that. It’s a long way from Gaahl’s beginnings but as with all good artists he continues to grow, develop and innovate. GastiR – Ghosts Invited is a great way to announce yourself to the music world and I for one look forward to hearing much more from them in the future.

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Darren Charles